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A Commodity Buffer is a strip of perennial vegetation established at the edge of any waterway; stream, river, creek, ditch, spring, wet area, drainage, or shoreline. They are used to: 

  • Capture sediment from agricultural runoff

  • Filter nutrients, pesticides, and animal waste from agricultural runoff

  • Provide wildlife habitat and establish wildlife corridors

Payments are calculated based on water body type, farming practices in place, and adjacent crops.  For a bonus payment, trees and shrubs may also be incorporated.


Install and maintain required buffer size according to the type of waterway, tillage practice, and associated Soil Tillage Intensity Rating 

Producers or landowners must maintain the selected practice for a minimum of three years.

Practices can be a filter strip (grass only, or grass/forb mix) or a native riparian forest (grasses, trees, and shrubs).

Commodity buffers cannot be burned

Haying and mowing must occur after July 1st


Minimum payment of $200/acre per year

on eligible acres

Compensation rates is valued at or above adjacent crop rotations (based on USDA Risk Management Agencies projected crop prices).

Compensation for buffers will change annually, to adjust for fluctuations in higher market values.


Existing buffers qualify! 

Incentive payments are based on buffer size, tillage practices, addition of woody species, and type of buffer (including existing).


Can assist producer toward Farmed Smart Certification eligibility.


Can help provide regulatory certainty.

Reduces suspended and associated contaminants (ie. nutrients, pesticides and bio-solids) in runoff.

Can be grazed or hayed (with appropriate planning requirements).

Can be single species or multi-species mix such as: 

timothy, timothy/alfalfa, orchard grass/alfalfa,  bluegrass, and timothy/white clover/orchard grass/tall fescue/ annual rye 

The table below shows examples of payments made in 2019 based on yield, farming practices, and USDA RMA projected crop prices.  

buffer table.jpg

For more information and some frequently asked questions on our Commodity Buffer Program CLICK HERE for our flyer

If you are interested in enrolling in a Commodity Buffer please click "Request assistance" below.  For more information contact either:

Garrett LaCivita
509-332-4101 x119

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